Don’t Forget To Adjust Your Clocks

This has been an eventful weekend. We saw South Korea, Uruguay, the US, and Ghana play tense matches. We saw England and Germany produce the tournament’s most controversial moment. And then, we saw Argentina roll on in defeating Mexico.

Themes abound – ‘never say die’, ‘coming of age’, ‘what goes around comes around’, ‘too much of a good thing’. You’re probably wondering how they all fit. I’ll explain but first I must say that El Cunto has had a very moving few days. He texted me to express deep sorrow for the US and England…yeah, and I’m the third Boateng brother.

Never say die – South Korea dug deep to get one by a stern Uruguayn defence. They fell short in the end but credit to them. I salute them for their contribution to the tournament.

Coming of age – Ghana looked poised and in control when it mattered most. They did not lose their nerve, become frustrated, or resort to unsavory tactics when it looked like the US were in the ascendency. Credit to the Black Stars and to Mr. Rajevac, their coach. I believe we could be witnessing another chapter in the evolution of African football. Time will tell. Think about it, they’ve reached the last eight without Michael “The Bison” Essien.

What goes around comes around – 1966 is best remembered by football fans for the goal that wasn’t. England’s victory over West Germany on home soil was no less controversial than Germany’s in South Africa. Poetic justice? I’m not sure but one thing is certain; it’s no longer five past Kahn, it’s four past James, and Terry, and Upson, and Johnson.

How bad is Glen Johnson? He looked lost at times. At others he looked like an extra on a movie set who’s been asked to take on a larger role. That guy is England’s best right fullback? Pathetic!

And John Terry, you can go home now. It seems that you (and Wayne Rooney) bully your way through teams in the EPL but can’t get it done against stiffer competition. The English went to South Africa with very high hopes. They went with a world class manager – a man who’s won things for fun. Is it Capello’s fault that the goods were counterfeit? Is it Capello’s fault that Gerrard and Rooney were shit?

I think not. English football must look at itself and ask some serious questions. The core is rotten. The problems are deep-rooted.

Think about this for a moment; ten minutes into the 2nd half, I received a text from a friend who was watching with a group of hard core England fans. He said that they were pleading with the big screen for Capello to sub Rooney. I understand the frustration but on all evidence prior to this tournament, any half-wit could have told you that Wayne Rooney is good enough to change a game on his own.

He is England’s best player since Paul Scholes.
He is ever a threat to any defender.
He is better than Crouch and Heskey put together.

Reading that text, it dawned on me that the England fans wanted to bring on Crouch (or Heskey? Really???) so that they could play route one football. They wanted to “have a real go”. What else could it have been?

I might be jumping to conclusions but regardless of how poor his tournament was, Rooney was England’s best chance to do the unexpected and change the game. He just didn’t show up. Don’t blame Capello.

Too much of a good thing – FIFA selects referees as representative of its many confederations. If they don’t, there’ll be accusations of imbalance and bias. The downside is that many of the refs are not up to it. Moreover, even refs from the bigger footballing nations get it wrong too. After all, Graham Poll gave out three yellows to the same player in the same game in 2006.

The argument that football should embrace the available technology and eliminate the blatant mistakes that keep occurring continues. It is a fair argument. I will address it on a different day. I’m not entirely against it. What do you think?

A few notes:

– Miroslav Klose wanted that ball more than anybody in South Africa on Germany’s first goal.
– When Heskey came on, it was as if Capello had thrown in the towel.
– Michael Ballack has never impressed me. That has not changed. He is not missed.
– Germany got a break with THAT goal but they also have some very good players.
– Barry and Terry went into tackles pretty hard and with intent late on.

As I suspected, the last eight will be interesting. What will also be interesting is El Cunto’s next post. I understand he has a few choice words for a certain “American” striker.

Chat later.

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